‘Positive Mojo’ celebrates spirit, life of Tompkins coach’s late daughter
KATY—During the final days of her life in August 2015, 11-year-old Morgan Jones, battling a rare form of cancer, had one request as she talked with her mother, Amy.
“One thing she told my wife is, ‘Please use me as an example, so that kids like me don’t have to suffer,’” said Tom Jones, Morgan’s father and the head boys soccer coach at Tompkins. “That’s what she wanted, and we’re going to honor her with that. Everywhere we go, we’re wearing our ‘Positive Mojo’ shirts and everywhere we go, they ask about it. We have those opportunities to tell her story.”
The sixth annual Katy ISD ‘Mojo’ Showcase wrapped up Saturday. The boys soccer tournament has grown considerably, from an eight-team invite to 32 teams this year. The tournament started in 2014, but in 2016 it was named the ‘Mojo Showcase’—“Mojo” was Morgan’s nickname, combining her first and last names—under the recommendation of Seven Lakes boys soccer coach Jimmy Krueger.
Tompkins players wear warmup shirts with the motto “POSITIVE MOJO,” an idea that started in 2017 when then- junior defender Al Peynado said the team needed shirts to acknowledge Morgan. ‘Positive Mojo’ is also adorned atop the backs of players’ jerseys.
After every team huddle, Tompkins players cry out, “Positive Mojo!”
“Mojo is the foundation of this program,” senior midfielder Eddie Vasquez said. “Whenever we play, it means fighting our hardest. It means pushing through.”
.@OTHSFalcsSoccer coach Tom Jones talks about the Katy ISD MOJO Showcase, named after his late daughter Morgan, who died from a rare form of cancer in 2015. Morgan\u2019s nickname was \u201cMOJO\u201d and the motto of \u201cPOSITIVE MOJO\u201d represents her spirit. @KatyISDAthletic @UIL_AD @TompkinsHSpic.twitter.com/YlogCKuslS— VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston) 1641678111
From day one, Morgan had always been a fighter.
She was born at 28 weeks and weighed one pound. Jones said everything was stacked against her from the start, but she never complained. She never let on how much pain she was in.
Morgan simply put on a smile. She had an easygoing personality and remained the light in everyone’s life while fighting for hers.
“She’s an inspiration to stay positive and keep going, even when we’re not in the best situations,” senior midfielder Jackson Torti said.
Morgan battled cancer for almost a year. She was diagnosed in September 2014 with a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor. The cancer started in her spine and wrapped around into her chest cavity.
And not once did she give in.
On the day before she died, Morgan walked on her own to the restroom. She wasn’t supposed to. It had been deemed practically impossible. But she was insistent that, for her last steps, she would walk on her own.
Morgan underwent three surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Nothing helped, and she went through immeasurable pain. But she always had a smile on her face. Always was as upbeat as much as she could be. Never hung her head.
“When she found out she had cancer, she said she wanted to be positive about this fight,” Jones said. “Her rules were, she wasn’t going to cry and she was going to smile. That’s what we’ve pushed. That’s what we wanted, and so that’s what we’re doing.”
Morgan Jones.Courtesy of Tom Jones
Senior defender Ian Aumagher said ‘Mojo’ means every day is a new day. Keep going.
“Coach’s daughter went through a lot of pain,” Aumagher said. “But no matter how much she felt, she never stopped fighting. Even though we may feel pain on the field, we can’t stop. We have to keep going. That pain is just temporary. It’ll go away eventually.”
When Tompkins played Houston Lamar on the second day of the three-day tournament Friday, one of Lamar’s players asked a Tompkins player why it was named the ‘Mojo Showcase.’ He was told. Another time, Jones said a gentleman approached him and gave him a hug because he’d heard about Morgan.
“The word is getting out and it’s growing on what it is and what it’s about,” Jones said. “Everything about it, even in our school … kids wear ‘Positive Mojo’ shirts who aren’t even a part of soccer. My youngest daughter goes to our school, and it’s even bigger now that she’s there and the kids know who she is. It’s a growing thing. It’s an honor for me and my family to see it.
“We see her life living through other people, and people honoring her and being positive and being a better person in life because of what she had to go through.”